Published On: Mon, Oct 10th, 2016

From Consumption to Production

Jacob Gelt DekkerThe new Cabinet has a very simple and straightforward task; to increase the wealth and well-being of the people of the island. Unfortunately, for the last 25 years, none of the previous governments of Curacao managed to create any significant economic growth, and the well-being of the population deteriorated dramatically with the collapse of security and safety and increase in corruption.

Wealth is the fruit of production of goods and services that are in demand in local and international markets. Curacao produces oil products, offshore financial services, and tourism. None of these three were loved and treasured, neither by the people, nor its governments. Overregulation made the Curacao product non-competitive. The island culture does not embrace entrepreneurship, ingenuity, and productivity, it favors consumerism.

Children in school applaud the MTV, glitter super-consumption and prefer to skip hard work and study to get there, so they eagerly enlist in the easy money trafficking of the narco-industry.

Consequently, Curacao’s labor force has poor work ethics, is insufficiently educated and trained, and lacks the thriving competitiveness of a production economy. Political People’s parties and the Unions wholeheartedly embraced socialism, communism or Chavismo-Bolivarianism, with deep seated hate against the entrepreneurial class. Any contact with Holland was labeled as neo-colonialism and racism. Sabotage and production unfriendly laws and regulations ruined whatever was left of any local wealth accumulation and investment.

Similar unrealistic populism brought Venezuela down to its knees and back to famine, but no matter how near this enormous disaster, most of Curacao is still in denial and prefers to look away.

Curacao’s culture is one of consumption, of carnival, holidays and weekend partying, or sports competitions. None of these consumptions could be turned into a productions economy. Many efforts were made. A success appeared to be the North Sea Jazz festival, but once the sponsors abandon it, it is threatened with collapse.

The new Minister of Economic Affairs has but one function, and that is to turn the Curacao’s Consumption into a Production’s economy. He or she will have to crown the Prince of Production instead of the Prince of Carnival. The new Excellency will have to hand out plume-awards, lofty prices to Curacao’s best trained and highest educated students. The new Production role models will have to be spotlighted for all to see. New young entrepreneurs will have to become the cuddle babies of the government. Companies will follow by creating attractive incentives for those who attend classes of all kinds. Union will have to join the bandwagon and come away from their comfortable offices and the education and training forces.

There can be vast new wealth, but only with new productivity. It is there for you to pick up the challenge and make it work.

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